The Theme of Revenge in Hamlet

From the play, there are several instances of revenge where we see the main characters acting without reasoning. This makes them make unwise decisions when they try to avenge their rivals. Over the history, writers have indicated that revenge is not often an intellectual decision. This is clearly shown by the consequences that follow the acts of revenge in Hamlet. In the play, three youngmen are all looking to revenge for the murder of their fathers. All of them have their actions based on emotion. This caused the downfall of two, and the success to power of one. Revenge is the major theme in Hamlet as we see the eldest sons of murdered fathers seeking vengeance.

The main character, prince Hamlet suffers both his father’s death and also his mother, marriage to Claudius. We see the ghost of his father appearing to him and informing him that Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle had poisoned him. Due to this Hamlet swears vengeance. He plans an ancient play with a story similar to that of Claudius. His manners are considered as insane. He murders the listening in Polonius. Laertes, Polonius’ son comes back to Denmark to retaliate his father’s death. Polonius’s daughter falls in loves with the Prince but his atrocious activities makes her hate him. She later dies through drowning. A fight takes place and ends with Gertrude’s death, Laertes, Claudius, and Hamlet. The theme of consequences of revenge and retribution is clearly depicted in this play (2).

Naturally a son feels wronged by the death of his father.  This is the case with the two young princes. The sons decide to take the course of revenge to satisfy their anger. Hamlet is disdained by the vicious death of his father in the direction of destinies of seeking revenge. This comes out to authorize comparisons in Shakespeare’s great catastrophe in the Hamlet. Both princes look for revenge for the proceedings connecting to the death of their fathers. However, their uncles and kings are against their nephew’s plans to achieve their own objectives.  Nevertheless, from the play, it is apparent that they have quite diverse individuality.  Although the two princes have equivalent positions and superlative intentions, the strength that drives them is different. The means in which they seek to achieve their aims are different (4).

The play consists of numerous deaths.  The deaths played a very imperative role in the recounting of the play. Hamlet’s father, who was the king, was found dead in an orchard where he liked to relax. Hamlet was shocked when he learnt of his father’s passing away, but what made him more curious was the fact that his mother, remarried so hurriedly to the brother of the dead King.  Horatio, his friend, was on night look out outside the fortress. He recited to the prince of the happenings where he had seen an apparition who looked like King Hamlet. Hamlet became curious and the next night when he came hoping to see the ghost, it appeared and called him wanting to converse with him. The spirit talked about how the King was poisoned while he was sleeping. The ghost required that the prince avenges his murder (6).

Hamlet’s girlfriend started to act in strange manner while he was away
acting strangely and she later died. Hamlet was blamed for the death of Polonius and Ophelia.  He later got into a fight where many people ended dead. In the play, though Hamlet died he still achieved his goal of eliminating Claudius. The throne was given to another person who was conspiracy free (6).

In the play by Shakespeare, the major subject is followed throughout by strategy of vengeance. This causes misfortune and deaths of many people. All through the play, various people want carry out revenge. The prince of Denmark, who is the main character, desires revenge on the current King of his country. This king is his uncle whom he believes killed his father. His uncle killed his brother so as to take the leadership and to marry the Queen. When attempting to get vengeance for his father by killing his Uncle, the price unintentionally murders Polonius. This was the father of one of his best friends Laertes.  In the play again we see Laertes wanting to get retribution for his father’s death. This he plans to achieve by killing his friend Hamlet. These intentions depict the extent of vengeance in the characters in this play. From the play it can be seen that lack of thought used in exacting the revenge led to the deaths of many people including the main characters who were pursuing revenge. The writer tries to show that nobody has the ability to think well when overwhelmed by revenge. It is also clear that Hamlet had many opportunities to murder his uncle but his anger outweighed his wisdom (8).

The King of Norway on the other hand was killed by Hamlet’s father in combat. The prince of Norway Fortinbras, as a result seeked revenge on Denmark.  In Denmark, Hamlet was devastated by the act of her mother in marrying his father’s murderer. Hamlet in his revenge mission caused the loss of many blameless people. The lesson that can be learnt from this is that revenge never ends to positive results. Attempting to kill a person in order to revenge is not the solution. This is because you may end up hurting many innocent people as it’s clearly depicted from the play.

From the play, we can see that all of the awful events that happened were caused by the Hamlets desire to avenge his father’s death.  The concluding part of the theme is revealed with Fortinbras. Strangely, Fortinbras does not end his revenge plans on Denmark. It turned out that he was the only person who survived. From this, the reader can deduce that Shakespeare did not support revenge.  Revenge in the end causes a lot of suffering to people who were not directly involved. The play Hamlet explores the theme of revenge and employs extremes to present the theme. The lesson learnt is that vengeance causes a lot of tragedy to many, both guilty and innocent (10). Revenge is portrayed as negative due to loss of innocent lives. It is also portrayed as an ineffective way of dealing with anger.